D.A. SUPPORTS CACAO INDUSTRY. Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol assured cacao industry stakeholders that support will be provided to the sector to enable cacao farmers earn decent income and compete in the ASEAN market. Pinol is shown in photo speaking at the1st Region III Kakao Konek Congress held in San Fernando City, Pampanga on Aug. 1, 2016.

[box type=”default” size=”large”] Sustainable, pro-farmer and safe agriculture pushed [/box]

MANILA — RESIST Agrochem TNCs network (RESIST) has asked Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol to heed a demand by farmers, scientists and consumers for free and safe food for all.

RESIST said the Duterte administration’s vow to eradicate poverty and end widespread hunger can be achieved only if there is genuine land reform as well as safe, sustainable and vibrant agricultural production under the control of farmers and local producers.

Farmers groups, environmental activists, scientists, consumer advocates and concerned sectors challenged Pinol to uphold the rights and welfare of farmers and consumers, in the light of the reversal by the Supreme Court of its decision on the controversial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) “talong” (eggplant) case.

Seven months after its landmark decision permanently enjoining the field testing of BT talong, SC on July 26 reversed its ruling on the basis of “mootness” and granted the petitions for motion for reconsideration filed by pro-genetically-modified organism (GMO) proponents.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is the lead agency implementing the Joint Department Circular (JDC) No. 1, series of 2016, the current guideline on the propagation, importation, commercialization, research and development of GM crops, particularly plant and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology.

Meanwhile, the Magsasaka at Siyentista para sa Agrikultura (MASIPAG) said “the DA should support, promote and enhance the best practices of sustainable agriculture and farming already adopted by farmers who refuse to use chemical-based farm inputs and GM (genetically modified) technologies.”

MASIPAG campaign officer Alfie Pulumbarit said: “We must protect our traditional and heirloom varieties. The government must support the practice and development of sustainable agriculture and provide much-needed support services to help farmers increase their yield as this will contribute to food security and self-sufficiency.”

In a related development, advocates of science and technology for the people belonging to AGHAM, said that the first step in ending the monopoly control of agro-corporations in agriculture is the junking of JDC, which facilitates the dependency of farmers on unsafe and dangerous GMOs.

“The path to food security and self-sufficiency should not mean the promotion of and reliance to foreign and corporate-controlled agriculture technologies,” said AGHAM’s Feny Cosico.

The group will seek further dialogue with Pinol to present the people’s agenda on food security.